The Porsche 944 Challenge field returns to the circuit this weekend at Sandown Raceway for round one of the 2022 Victoria State Racing Championships.
Sidelink Motorsport is one of three new teams making its debut this weekend with the #44 car driven by driver Mark Verdino. After a successful test with the Beller Motorsport team before Christmas, Mark took the plunge by purchasing the car driven by John Morrow before COVID hit in 2020. The car arrived from Perth last Friday with just enough time for it is checked mechanically to be prepared for the 1st round.
Carter Fox Motorsport debuts Carter Fox and his father Ian after buying ex-John Kennedy. Carter is now fit after a crash at the end of 2021 and is looking forward to making his debut this weekend having only had his first drive of the car last week when he completed his OLT.
Vlad Kennedy also holds his first race meeting after buying his car from Marius Catrina out of season and quickly gave the car a birthday with new paint and parts, it now looks better than even in his new Porsche Carmine Red Duco with Gloss White Wheels and will stand out on the track!
As exciting as the uphill battle will be the battle for Rookie of the Year with these three riders vying for the title from round one.
Jamie Westaway is back to defend his 2021 championship, proudly displaying the No. 1 in the Ausfield Oils-backed Porsche, who will again be joined on the track with his family members – his father Tony Westaway in No. 3 sporting a new livery for 2022, as well as with Michael Westaway who is unfortunately absent this weekend but will be back for round two.
With his eyes firmly fixed on reclaiming the No. 1 sticker, incumbent champion Cameron Beller – Beller leads his former No. 55 for the first time since 2016 after winning the championship 4 times in 2016-19 and is looking forward to return to battle with the Westaways in 2022.
One of those who won’t let Beller and the Westaways have their way will be Dick Howe – the racing veteran is entering his 20th year of 944 competition and is still a force to be reckoned with at Sandown Raceway.
After taking part in the Beller/Westaway battle a few times in 2021, Adam Brewer will also be looking to become a permanent fixture in this challenge – having picked up his first win at the non-points event at Phillip Island in March last year. , Brewer is aiming for his first victory on points.
Mark Taubitz is another who has had his ups and downs in 2021 – a strong run at Phillip Island in May was behind Beller and Westaway provided motivation, but an incident in the first race at Island Magic ended that the season on a sour note. A new car in the works that will hopefully make its debut later in the year is what Taubitz hopes will help him battle with the frontrunners on a consistent basis.
Josh Brisbane will start his second season – fresh off the 2021 Rookie of the Year award. The stunning Viper Green 944 will aim to place firmly in the top 10 this season.
Andrew Jackman is another looking to move forward this year as he continues to develop and try to unlock speed in his stunning Miami Blue Poolmaster Bayside backed 944. A little luck will definitely help him get a higher position in the points ranking as well.
Andy Jones, buoyed by his performance gains at Phillip Island which saw him firmly in the middle of the pack, did wonders for Jones at the end of last year and he is very excited about trying out his modified and adjusted Gulf 944 reverse liveries at Sandown after struggling. with configuration issues when last visiting the circuit in 2021.
In the same boat as Jones is fellow countryman Keith Marriner. It won’t be all tea and biscuits for the two Brits sharing the garage as they pursue their own battle of bragging rights for Top Pom in 944 Field – a recent test for Keith also motivated him to find some speed aboard the racing Seat Time Solutions 944.
Newcomer Jack Atley is starting a full season in the 944 Challenge. Dressing in Beller Motorsport’s second official car, Jack will start his first event at Sandown in the 944 and will take lessons learned at Island Magic in November to mix and match with the rest of the 944 faithful with his car backed by Pit Lane Clothing.
Back for 2022, Jim Mitchell in his car in Martini colors. Jim’s best results have come at Sandown, which suits his car and style, the best of Victorian circuits, and Jim plans to add some top-ten results to his tally this weekend.
John Vainoras will be hoping he’s finally shaken off his reliability issues – with John looking to get a strong uninterrupted racing season to be able to consistently show the flashes of pace he’s proven at various times.
WA’s border closure extensions mean we are missing entries from Sandgropers Tim Wolfe and Andy Tudor who we hope will return for Round 2, as well as Manny Mezzasalma – who had to withdraw due to delays in preparing his new time engine for Round 1.
Rounds 2 and 3 will hopefully see an influx of returning entries, as along with the aforementioned drivers we expect to see Pedr James, Toni Andreevski, Lyndon Watson, Rob Holding, Clayton Sinclair and Peter Doherty as well as the ‘former series champion Chris Lewis-Williams also all should get back on track to give more than 20 Porsche fields on track.
If you like what you see on the circuit and want to get on board the Porsche 944 Challenge series, the series is enjoying a resurgence with a number of new cars available and returning to competition, as well as cars freshly built in finalizing course with some of those for rent or sale. Get in touch with the guys on the show if you want to get on the right track and get in on the action.